Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West by Gregory Maguire
Published by Harper on September 25th 2007
Series: The Wicked Years #1
Genres: Adult, Adult Fiction, Fairy Tales, Fantasy, Magic, Novels, Science Fiction Fantasy, Witches
Length: 538 pages Source: Amazon
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When Dorothy triumphed over the Wicked Witch of the West in L. Frank Baum's classic tale, we heard only her side of the story. But what about her arch-nemesis, the mysterious witch? Where did she come from? How did she become so wicked? And what is the true nature of evil?
Gregory Maguire creates a fantasy world so rich and vivid that we will never look at Oz the same way again. Wicked is about a land where animals talk and strive to be treated like first-class citizens, Munchkinlanders seek the comfort of middle-class stability and the Tin Man becomes a victim of domestic violence. And then there is the little green-skinned girl named Elphaba, who will grow up to be the infamous Wicked Witch of the West, a smart, prickly and misunderstood creature who challenges all our preconceived notions about the nature of good and evil.
I wasn’t sure what to think of this book. It has been on my to-read list for years, and I’ve for whatever reason effectively avoided it in all that time. I saw the musical in Boston in 2006 and I think first it’s imperative to understand that this book is not the musical. The only real following similarities are the setting – Oz – and the character names. The story plays out completely differently.
That said, I could not put it down.
The story follows Elphaba from before birth to the moment of her death. The life shown is uncensored and completely different than one may have expected. It is rough, sexual, and ruthless. And somehow, it is just right.
The main criticism I would have is that the ending seemed rushed, as though her insanity set in far too quickly, and in that, I would say I felt left unsatisfied.